Eight Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) officers have been suspended in connection with Lehlohonolo Scott’s dramatic escape from the Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012.
Scott (29) was awaiting trial for the alleged ritual murder of Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata of Koalabata in January and June 2012 respectively, at the time of his sensational prison-break.
He is suspected to have fled to South Africa on the night of his escape, where he was arrested in Durban on 5 April 2014, and has since made several appearances at the Durban North Magistrate’s Court, where he is now fighting extradition to Lesotho.
According to sources privy to the case, seven junior officers and one sergeant, who were reportedly on duty on the night of Scott’s escape, were slapped with indefinite suspension letters beginning Friday last week.
“The eight officers were said to have been on duty when Scott made his getaway from the Maseru Central Prison on the fateful night,” the source said.
“They are now being accused of negligence, which is said to have allowed Scott to leave the prison.
“Scott is alleged to have been wearing an LCS uniform when he escaped and there are strong suspicions that he was assisted by some warders to break out of his cell, and then walk through the gate of the prison.”
Added the source: “Security is very tight at the Maseru Central Prison and there was no way he could have escaped on his own without inside assistance.”
Contacted yesterday for comment, the LCS Spokesperson, ‘Mateboho Ramphielo confirmed the suspension of the eight officials.
“The Lesotho Correctional Service authorities have established that the eight officers, who have been put on suspension, were on duty when Scott escaped from the Maseru Central Prison,” said Sergeant Ramphielo.
“In order to allow for thorough investigations into the case, the officers had to be suspended from duty.”
However, Sergeant Ramphielo said she was not at liberty to disclose the names of the suspended officials as investigations are now underway.
“Investigations are still in progress and the officers have not been found guilty, so we cannot disclose their names to the public,” said Sergeant Ramphielo, adding the officers had been suspended on full pay.